Archives for posts with tag: advice

Today has been designated as the most dismal day of the year.

Can it also be a challenge to have a great day anyway?

The third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday as it is thought that:

  • post-Christmas blues
  • dreary weather
  • dark mornings/nights
  • low bank balance
  • payday still over a week away

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With Writefest 2017 in its 3rd week (the motto this week is ‘I write therefore I am’, and with our new Think Further weekly coaching prompts also focusing on writing in November, it would be difficult to have a blog post today on something else than writing. So here I am, pausing and pondering about writing. A year ago, I posted a Think Ahead blog post ‘the writer within’ advocating that “becoming a researcher is…becoming a writer”. As part of this previous blogpost, I proposed 30 ideas for writing development from the many hundreds than one may consider. Did any of you Think Ahead blog readers take up some of these ideas? It would be good to hear which you may have trialed and whether they helped. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Talking shop’ has probably never had a pleasant connotation. Think of those people who can’t let work go at non-work events; or situations or organisations where lots of talking takes place but no decision is ever made and nothing gets done.  Talking shop or “professional conversation“, to give it a more scholarly gloss, is an invaluable – and often overlooked – source of learning and development in our careers. Read the rest of this entry »

My work in designing mentoring programmes naturally covers mentor ‘training’. I’ve been at it again this morning, meeting one of my groups incoming onto the September to March Researcher Mentoring Programme.

Actually I prefer to say mentor development, because training is too directive a notion to be a good way of describing how we use workshops to get to grips with the practices of mentoring — which is itself a very non-directive activity. As with all types of learning & teaching, there’s not a ‘right way’ to do mentoring, each mentor chooses their own approach, style and practices, and applies them in different situations and contexts. Read the rest of this entry »

As the Bank Holiday Monday approached I wondered how I would spend this wonderful free extra ‘me’ time.  I had to stop to think about it as the week before my son came home on leave from the army and found himself with a day free and said he didn’t know how to spend it. It didn’t happen that often and it was a problem! In the end he came round to our house and played some old video games with his sister and they both really enjoyed it. They laughed and chatted and remembered old times. Perhaps that is one idea, to take time out to reconnect and do things that make us happy with people we care about. Read the rest of this entry »

ERS_Logo_12_bI attended the Engineering Researcher Symposium last Friday (30 June 2017) and the message that came across to me, was that often collaboration isn’t about having a research idea and then looking for collaborators, but rather it can be by talking to others, that ideas for collaboration come about. Read the rest of this entry »

Who’s writing their thesis? 

Come on, who is writing? It’s my view, and the view of a lot of scholars who study writing in the doctoral degree, that everyone should have said yes to that question. See this assertion from  Barbara Kamler & Pat Thomson, taken from their 2014 book, ‘Helping Doctoral Students Write: Pedagogies for supervision’:

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Dear doctoral supervisor,

“I was blissfully unaware how long it would take me to write up. To be honest I would have preferred a more clear marker from my supervisor, or from the department, saying stop doing experiments now and write! I was expecting someone to say when I had enough data, because I never felt I did, so instead I kept going much longer than I needed in the lab because I didn’t know how much was enough. I feel pretty annoyed about that.”

FullSizeRender.jpgIt’s 246 days ‪until the 31st of October. I mention this date as we have around 1100 third year doctoral students whose theses are due on that date*. With 8 months to go, now is a perfect time to make sure that your thesis writers know it’s time to spend some time each week — an hour a day, every day? — writing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s get one thing clear – I’m not saying everyone needs to do a placement or an internship. In fact I’m writing this to stress that there is more to work experience than a 3 month placement – a placement may not be what you need at all. For researchers, whether PhD student or research staff, a placement may not be practical, possible or preferable.

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For a festival of peace and goodwill it seems to manage to create a lot of stress and hardship. So how can you ensure you enjoy the festive season rather than feeling like you’ve been ‘sleighed’! As always we are concerned about researcher wellbeing,  so here are some tips for you> All obvious? So how come you don’t do them!

Winter tiredness

Shorter days provwinter-tirednesside us with less daylight hours and your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy. We often have to keep going but we need to accept we will slow down over winter. To help keep your energy levels up try to eat regular meals/healthy snacks every three to four hours, rather than large meals. Regular exercise can give you an energy boost and make you feel less tired. Read the rest of this entry »